So it finally happened. The fight that everyone had waited so long for. A fight that transcended the sport of boxing and would enable the winner to lay claim to being the best pound for pound boxer in the world and the best fighter of his generation. Of course I am talking about Pacquiao v Mayweather which, for those of us in the UK, started around 4am on Sunday 3 May.
Floyd 'Money' Mayweather came into the fight with an unbeaten professional record and should he win this would be his 48th consecutive victory spanning a career of 19 years. Manny Pacquiao had tasted defeat 5 times with 57 wins but many would argue that is understandable due to his more 'risky' style.
Personally, I am a huge boxing fan, and I have followed both fighters throughout their respective careers and although my heart really wanted Pacquaio to do well, my head always told me that Mayweather was just too slick. Many people said that this fight should have happened 5 years ago when both boxers were in their prime, but I would have expected the same result then. It was business as usual for Mayweather, cruising to a comfortable points win with the loss of just 2 rounds according to my scorecard.
For the casual boxing fans this was Mayweathers 'career defining fight', the fight he needed to win to secure his legacy. I feel that Mayweathers legacy was already secured if you look at the previous opponents he has beaten. From Diego Corrales to Oscar de la Hoya to Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, who I believed would be his toughest test, he has always used his defensive mastery to find a way to win. He refers to himself as TBE (The Best Ever) and his exploits and persona outside the ring do not endear him to the mainstream fans, but like him or loathe him he has to be respected for what he has achieved.. Is he the best ever? Certainly not. In my opinion he would definitely be below Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard in the all time list at welterweight. But he is the best of his generation, a generation that has not been able to produce another boxer to better him since he joined the professional ranks in 1996 . Shane Mosley rocked him with a big shot in 2010 but Mayweather came back to dominate the fight. Oscar De La Hoya had a good game plan but still couldn't breach the Mayweather defence regularly enough to get the decision. Every time we have succumbed to the belief that Mayweather has finally met his match he has found a way to win. He doesn't have the ferocity of Tyson in his prime, nor the charm and charisma of Ali. He has used the 'Money Mayweather' persona to grab the headlines and create a profile, and as a result he is the highest paid athlete in the world. Although I wouldn't put him in Mayweathers league, Joe Calzaghe also developed a winning formula inside the ring but he wasn't recognised for his outstanding talent until his match up against the American Jeff Lacy, who was being built up as a mini Mike Tyson. He tormented Lacy for 12 torturous rounds and finally he received the recognition that he deserved.
So this all leaves us with one more fight for Mayweather before he hangs up his gloves. One more fight on his record breaking showtime deal. I don't believe a Pacquiao rematch could be justified after last nights performance so who would be able to ruin his chances of matching the great Rocky Marciano's record of 49 wins. From my perspective there is nobody at light welterweight/welterweight that could challenge him at the moment. The only realistic prospect is Kazakhstan KO specialist Gennady Golovkin who campaigns at middleweight. They would need to meet at a catchweight and the money on offer would probably be too much for Golovkin to refuse. But Mayweather and his team may just view that fights risk/reward ratio as a little high when he is so close to retiring undefeated. One thing is for sure, as long as he is fit in September, he will step inside the ring at the MGM for the last time and you can guarantee another defensive masterclass. If it aint broke, don't fix it!